But by placing it in – at the beginning – this playful, energetic, candy-colored setting, it’s kind of a gateway into the most serious and complicated conversations.
Well, I think so. Part of the challenge is making sure it doesn’t sound like medicine, making it feel like you’d like to go see the night of a date, and then discuss it afterwards. At this point, it’s by no means a conventional horror movie, but that’s why I think horror has always been used to discuss the darker, more problematic things. I think of ‘Get Out’ and how it made the most enjoyable, brilliant, funniest movie ever, and no one left this cinema feeling or thought of the same. way. It is an extraordinary experience. And then you come back, for example, to “Frankenstein” and people’s worry about replacing God with science, or “Dracula” and some kind of concern about sex. I think fun and enjoyment are really important tools if you want to discuss difficult things. And especially if you want to attract people who may not have thought deeply about these things. We’re incredibly lucky, I think – those of us who think and talk about all of this very openly, if we have friends who are very open about it. It is so important. But there are a lot of people who still haven’t been able to talk about this stuff, so if that helps them, it’s just wonderful.
I just watched it again this weekend after watching it a while ago and realized the second time around how much of a horror movie it was, from the dripping titles to the sluggishness of the camera in the lunch scene with Alison Brie on the strings. in the score. But it’s also funny and it’s also heartbreaking. As you write this film, how do you find that balance? It’s so difficult, but it all plays out so perfectly together.
Oh thank you very much. This is such an interesting question because I don’t know exactly. Half of that is it’s like a crossword puzzle, and so I think the fun for me is figuring out what an audience might expect and then being able to deliver both, but in a way. that they did not anticipate. There’s so much in the writing, I think, in the decisions of: Oh, what would people expect at this point in this kind of movie? What are the beats of history? What are the character arcs that we traditionally see here? And then somehow twist it. So it’s an incredibly fun exercise. But in general the tone is really hard to describe because most of the time it’s something that somehow feels, not innate, but it doesn’t necessarily sound like a decision. The thing about writing a movie and then making it is that it kind of exists for you. It just exists – it’s just the facts of life and it’s just about trying to explain it to other people. It is a strange thing. I wish I could have been clearer on how the tone works.
It is complicated. And then as an actor yourself (Fennell played Camilla Parker Bowles in season three of “The Crown”), what kind of conversations have you had with Carey Mulligan to find this character so intriguing complicated?
I mean, Carey really is a genius, by the time she read it, it came to life, really. I guess the only thing is with the tone and the genre and the deception that’s going on – the cinematic element of this movie – the most important thing is that the characters have to be completely real. They had to be played completely, that people weren’t playing the genre. And then the most important thing was Cassie. And Carey is such an expert in existence, to be that person. She doesn’t do too much, she doesn’t report things. We know exactly what she’s thinking, but it’s so calm and thoughtful. That was the thing that really mattered was that whoever played Cassie wasn’t going to play a fuck, whip, and mean bitch, you know? That it wasn’t somehow “iconic”, as they say. That any temptation to do that was going to be kind of removed. She needed to feel like what Cassie is, who is an incredibly traumatized and grieving woman who cannot find an outlet for her anger and cannot find any justice. And she was a very difficult person to play, and Carey was just amazing because she not only makes her believable, but whether we like her or not – you know, I like her – but people do. like it or not, we understand what she is doing and why she is doing it.